Why do drains get blocked and what can you do about it?

Blocked drains can be a real pain. They can range from anywhere to slightly annoying, like having to stand and wait for the water to drain from a sink when you pull the plug, through to downright damaging (if you’ve ever had a toilet backup and flow all over your house, you will know what we are talking about).

There are many different reasons drains get blocked and it can differ from suburb to suburb. Sometimes it’s trees and roots, other times its Lego or socks. You name it, we’ve seen it and likely pulled it out of a drain. Here’s a bunch of reasons drains get blocked and what you can do about it.

The cause of blocked drains

When it comes to blocked drains on the inside of your home, there’s a whole bunch of reasons drains get blocked and we see all sorts of things causing the blockage. Sometimes it’s not easy to determine what the issue is, so we need to use a Drainsnake (a long device with a camera on the end to enable us to see what’s going on in your drains) to see what might be stuck in your pipes. Usually, it’s an easy fix, sometimes we need to go to greater lengths to unblock a drain. Either way, here are the main reasons we see for blockages in certain areas of your home.

Tree Roots

This is by far the most common cause of blocked drains. Tree roots are always looking for water so if there’s even a tiny leak or crack in your tiles, trees are going to send out their roots to get water from the pipe. Over time these roots make their way into your pipes and because there are only two directions they can go (forwards or backwards), they tend to bulk up in size over time and trap any items that are flushed down the loo, eventually causing a blockage.       


Sand is something that we love here at Bribie Island as it reminds us we’re on an island and only five minutes drive from a beach pretty much anywhere on the island. The one downfall of living near a beach is that you can get a buildup of sand in your pipes (usually from people washing it off in the shower and not outside in the backyard with a hose) that can eventually get to the point where it blocks the pipes.

Fats and Oils

Typically we see these types of blockages in kitchens when people pour oil and fat from their cooking down the sink. This is one of the worst things you can do for the pipes leading out from your kitchen. Many people think that because heated oils or fats are liquid when they’re poured down the sink that will stay that way and be flushed away by water or detergents from the washing up, however, this isn’t true. The water flowing down your kitchen sink will solidify the fats and oils over time creating a ‘fatberg’ in your pipes that if big enough won’t budge no matter how much hot water or sink cleaner you pour into the sink and will need to be physically dislodged to be removed.


Be it human or pet, hair can bind itself to oils, fats and other foreign objects in your pipes to cause blockages. The easiest way to make sure you don’t get clogged drains from hair is to make sure it doesn’t get in there in the first place.

Food Waste

Also found to be an issue in the kitchen, people often scrape or rinse their plates into sinks without either using a sink filter (a little metal insert you put into the plug hole - you can pick them up from supermarkets for a couple of bucks) or an Insinkerator (garbage disposal). All that food eventually builds up in your pipes, it might take weeks or months, but it will eventually create a blockage that needs to be removed by a plumber.

Kids Toys

This may sound far-fetched but you would be surprised at how often we see blockages because little Johnny decided to see how many action figures he could flush down the toilet (the answer is one, maaaaaaybe two before you start seeing real issues and likely tears from little Johnny once he’s realised what he’s done).

These are the major culprits when it comes to causing blocks in your pipes throughout your home. If you require the assistance of a plumber to unblock drains, please feel free to call us on 0424 141 174.